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Death & Taxes

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10)

The foolish bridesmaids in our scripture reading today were not ready. They went to get more oil for their lamps. Meanwhile, the wedding had already started. Matthew 25:11 says, “Later the other bridesmaids came also saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” The bridesmaids were not allowed to enter the wedding celebration.

We also will not be allowed to enter God’s kingdom unless we are prepared. We have all heard the phrase–there are two things in life that are certain–death and taxes. In our American culture, it seems to be a taboo to talk about death. We often talk about people passing away. People don’t pass away. People die. Death is often is a gift. For some, death is a relief from a hard life. For others, death is freedom from physical pain. And for still others, death is a rebirth into a new life that is eternal.

Life is such a fragile thing at best. We should be ready to meet God in this life and the life to come. Matthew 25:13 says, “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

God of all things, may I not live in fear of death, but may I be ready for my time to come to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Houston Weddings

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

We do Houston Weddings!

Houston minister services provides wedding services for non-denominational wedding ceremonies. We understand that many people these days are unaffiliated with a church or place of worship so we provide services to help create the perfect wedding ceremony in a way that is reflective of your beliefs as a couple. Our wedding officiants are ordained ministers who are ready to perform Houston weddings that you will cherish forever.

Here are some fun facts not only about Houston weddings but about weddings in general in the United States. Enjoy!

  • The average age of the bride is 25.
  • The average age of the groom is 27.
  • The average wedding budget is about $20,000.
  • $72 billion is spent each year on weddings in the United States.
  • $19 billion is spent on gift registries each year.
  • On average one-third of couples getting married each year have actually been married before.
  • Typically about 170 to 200 guests are invited to weddings in the United States.
  • There are about 6,200 weddings that occur in the United States every day averaging to about 2.3 million couples that get married every year.
  • Most guests spend about $70 to $100 on a gift for the bride and groom.
  • The wedding rings for the bride and the groom cost on average about $1,000.
  • On average about 90% of all couples register for gifts.
  • The average honeymoon costs about $3,600 and about $8 billion is spent each year on the honeymoon.
  • The most popular month for weddings is June, followed by August, and then September. *Something tells me that our Houston weddings that take place in August mostly occur indoors!

While Houston Minister Services may fall within the norm regarding these statistics, we perform many alternative custom wedding options that may or may not fall within the norm when planning your wedding day. We perform ceremonies to include ceremony options such as hand fasting and the ribbon ceremony, as well as the rose and the unity sand ceremony.

We perform Houston weddings that are traditional and we provide services for those couples that would prefer a more non-traditional and customized wedding ceremony. We welcome your creativity!

You can read about these alternative custom ceremony options throughout our site and our blog. Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation. We would be honored to be a part of your special day.

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Wedding Tips

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

Wedding Tips for Wedding Invitations

Wedding planning is one of the most stressful yet fun things that one can have the pleasure of doing in their lifetime. Times are tough these days and so many couples cannot hire a wedding planner to help plan their wedding day. Many people are relying solely on the information they find online and through the help of friends and family’s referrals. In today’s article we discuss wedding tips as they relate to the wedding invitations in hopes that it can answer some of the most common questions.

Tip #1 – Complete your invite list before you order the invitations. Your list should be completed 6 months out and you should order your invitations shortly thereafter.

Tip #2 – Order at least 20-30 more invitations and envelopes than you plan to need (one also for a keepsake). You may decide to invite others, may have forgotten someone, you may make a mistake when addressing some of the invitations, or you may have to re-mail to another address. It is much cheaper to order invitations and envelopes in excess at the beginning then it is to place a brand new order.

Tip #3 – Order your invitation address labels at the same time that you order the invitations, and also order some labels for your thank you cards if you prefer. If you are ordering save-the-dates don’t forget to order enough labels for those too. Don’t forget to order return address labels as well! Keep in mind a way to cut costs in your wedding checklist is to print out your own address labels at home. Popular wedding tips also include making your own invitations at home as well! You can really have fun with home-made invitations if you are planning a beach wedding, a casual wedding ceremony, or if a couple is renewing vows.

Tip #4 – Ensure that you type or print names with the appropriate titles such as those titles associated with the wedding officiant (Reverend, Rabbi) or for those guests who serve our country (Lieutenant, Captain, Colonel). Additionally, ensure that you follow appropriate etiquette with regards to who should actually receive an invitation. For example, anyone over 18 that is living at home with their parents typically receive their own invitation, and if two people live together, or are married but have different last names then you should use both of their full names on one invitation.

Tip #5 – Take an invitation fully stuffed just as it would be sent out to the post office to ensure that you receive sufficient postage. Not only is the postage requirement determined by weight but it is also determined by size. You should also take into account that odd shaped (non-standard shaped) stationary most often requires extra postage regardless of the weight. Wedding tips like this come in useful when trying to save money.

For more wedding tips and information on how to create the perfect wedding ceremony or if you are in need of a wedding officiant, please contact us at Houston Minister Services or continue to view other articles in our Minster Services blog.

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Wedding Minister

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

The wedding minister that you select to perform your wedding ceremony is one of the most important decisions that you will make for your wedding day. After all, this is the person who will walk you through one of the most important ceremonies of your life. In today’s article we go over discussions that a professional wedding minister should have with every couple in order to ensure their ceremony is a success.

It is recommended that the wedding officiant sit down with both of you in preparation of the ceremony. Not only should he or she become familiar with the each of your personalities, but there is a lot of information that should be discussed. Perhaps the first topic for discussion is where the wedding will be held. This will tell the wedding minister a lot about the big day. Perhaps you are having an informal beach wedding, or maybe an intimate back yard wedding. Additionally, the minister will need to discuss what ceremony readings you will have. This is greatly determined by the nature of the ceremony as it relates to your religions. Some couples opt for a more traditional ceremony whereas others prefer a more customized ceremony more in tune with their personality and culture.

Furthermore, it is important that the wedding minister know how many people will be in the wedding party as well as any other wedding ideas that involve the ceremony. Will you have a unity candle in the ceremony, or will you include a unity sand ceremony? Will there be any special music or anyone speaking during the ceremony other than the officiant? Additionally the minister will need to know if he or she will supply your wedding vows or if you are writing your own vows.

There is a lot more to add to your wedding checklist other than selecting a wedding minister. Things such as the wedding flowers, dresses, table settings, etc. Just be sure that the minister you select has a “template” of sorts for the standard of wedding ceremonies, that he or she is available for a wedding rehearsal, and that your minister is easy to work with. The minister that you select to conduct your wedding ceremony must also be calming, reassuring, speak clearly, and must be confident in his or her delivery.

For more information on how to create the perfect wedding ceremony or if you are in need of a wedding officiant, please contact us at Minister Services. We would be honored to partake in your special day.

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Unity Sand Ceremony

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

The Unity Sand Ceremony that occurs during wedding ceremonies is becoming more and more popular each day. As more families these days are blended, Wedding Officiants are adding this as a standard part of the wedding ceremony as a way to symbolize the creation of not only two hearts, but of a new family. Children often find it as a way to partake in the special day and parents find it is a great way to include their children and make them feel just as important as the wedding day itself.

The meaning of the Unity Sand Ceremony is the blending of the different colors of sand to represent the union of family. This ceremony was originally used in many beach weddings but now is used in weddings of all types including garden weddings, church weddings, and more. It is also seen as an alternative ceremony option to the unity candle ceremony for those weddings that are held outside. The unity candle can easily blow out in those weddings so the Unity Sand Ceremony serves as a safe and fun alternative.

Many believe that the sand ceremony began with the Hawaiians while others believe that this tradition began with the Native Americans. Either way, it is seen by many to be romantic and mystical. It is also seen as a great keepsake for couples and for families. You can find vases online that can be engraved with the date of the wedding as well as the names of the family members. the vase holding the sand can sit out on your mantle on display as a reminder of the wedding day and of the family commitment made. It also serves as a great way to keep that wedding date fresh in your mind!

If you decide to perform the sand ceremony there are a few things that you need to add to your wedding checklist. You will need to decide how much sand you will need and the different colors of sand that you will want to use. This can depend on how many people will be pouring the sand as well as the colors that you choose for your wedding. The amount of sand will also determine what you choose to pour it into. The volume will determine how big this vase must be. You don’t necessarily even have to use a vase. Some brides and grooms will use a large sea shell and pour from two smaller shells in order to be creative. It is completely your decision as this is a unique representation of your new family.

For more information on how to create the perfect wedding ceremony or if you are in need of a wedding officiant, please contact us at Minister Services.

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Wedding Planning

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

Planning a wedding is a huge endeavor and more brides and grooms are opting to plan their wedding day without the help of a wedding planner. Whether you decide to plan your big day with our without the assistance of a wedding planner, the wedding planning checklist provided below provides your to-do list for wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions for the months preceding the wedding.

6 plus months out

  • Decide on the type of wedding you will have. Formal, or informal? Large or Small? Garden wedding or beach wedding? Destination wedding? Also decide what time of year you would like it to take place.
  • Set a budget
  • Order wedding dress, shoes, veil, gloves, purse, etc.
  • Compile a guest list including mailing addresses
  • Hire a wedding planner at this time, if you are hiring one.
  • Choose the wedding ceremony site and the wedding reception site.
  • Finalize the wedding date
  • Choose the attendants including your wedding party
  • Hire a wedding officiant, caterer, florist, music, photographer, and videographer
  • Choose the wedding cake
  • Plan and book your honeymoon!

4 to 6 months out (wedding planning)

  • Send Save-the-Date cards
  • Order your stationary including wedding invitations, thank you cards and book a calligrapher for table name cards if necessary.
  • Reserve any rental equipment including tables, chairs, tents, etc.
  • Arrange transportation for your wedding day
  • Register for wedding gifts
  • Purchase wedding rings,
  • Choose and reserve/buy wedding attire for groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girl, ring bearer, etc.
  • Choose favors. (See wedding ideas)
  • Buy gifts for wedding party and parents.
  • Reserve block of rooms or other accommodations for overnight guests
  • Book a room for wedding night and sign up for dance lessons
  • Write thank you notes as wedding gifts begin to arrive.

2 to 4 months out (wedding planning)

  • Choose menu and hors ‘d oeuvres
  • Discuss details of the ceremony with the wedding officiant, including readings, vows, special requests, etc. (see ceremony options)
  • Write wedding vows if need be
  • Schedule the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner for day before the wedding
  • Select make-up and hair stylist and do a trial run with each.
  • Mail out wedding invitations
  • Contact local vendors for wedding announcements in local listings

1 to 2 months out (wedding planning)

  • Print programs
  • Buy a guest book
  • Take blood tests if required by your state
  • Obtain marriage license as well as certified copies. *Pay attention to requirements for your state.
  • Change of address and name change to post office, and prepare necessary documents. (Many brides wait until after the honeymoon to do this to ease travel preparations, especially if leaving the country)

The above lists those items that must be done in the months preceding your wedding day. Please view our next blog in the Alternative Custom Weddings section for checklists required for the weeks preceding the big day!

For more information on how to create the perfect wedding ceremony or if you are in need of a wedding officiant, please contact us at Minister Services.

Personalized Wedding Favors from Beau-coup

Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors from Beau-coup.

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Wedding Checklist

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

There are so many things to think about when planning a wedding that it can be very overwhelming. A wedding checklist is the key to ensuring that not one detail is missed! Today’s article is a continuation of the Wedding Planning article previously posted in the Alternative Custom Weddings section of our blog. In today’s article we discuss those important details for the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception that occur in the weeks preceding the big day!

Two weeks out

  • Final wedding dress fitting along with lingerie and wedding shoes
  • Start to work on seating plan and place cards
  • Address announcements
  • Find a pet sitter and house sitter if need be
  • Notify caterer of estimated head count
  • Write toasts
  • Coordinate delivery of welcome baskets to out-of-town guests

One week out (wedding checklist)

  • Finalize the seating plan
  • Pick up dress or have it delivered after final alterations
  • Pack for the honeymoon (or for destination beach wedding)
  • Confirm final head count with the caterer
  • Confirm honeymoon arrangements and provide itinerary to family or friend in case of emergency
  • Assign duties to honorary attendants such as passing out wedding programs for the wedding ceremonies, dispersing bouquets, boutonnieres, etc.

One day before (wedding checklist)

  • Manicure and pedicure
  • Ceremony rehearsal with wedding officiant and rehearsal dinner
  • Give gifts to wedding party, parents, grand parents, children, etc.
  • Prepare money envelopes for tips and final payments to vendors
  • Confirm transportation to and from ceremony, reception, and airport.
  • Give wedding announcements to someone for mailing after the wedding

Wedding Day

  • Relax and enjoy yourself!
  • See our Wedding Day Checklist article for those items that should be taken care of on or before your wedding day

While no wedding is alike there may be items on this list that you won’t do or more items that you will do, depending on the wedding ideas and ceremony options that you have planned for. Hopefully, however this list provides a detailed itemization of those items that you may need to prepare for on your big day.

For more information on how to create the perfect wedding ceremony or if you are in need of a wedding officiant, please contact us at Minister Services or continue to view other articles in our Minster Services blog.

Elegant Wedding Favors – These stylish favors bring sophistication and flair to any wedding.

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Ceremony Readings

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

The wedding ceremony is the most significant part of your wedding day. The audience will remember it forever and the ceremony readings that you choose will set the tone for the rest of the day. The readings that you choose can be poems, verses, prose passages, quotes, or any personal words that couples or their loved ones may choose to recite.

Choosing the ceremony readings can be difficult for some couples. These couples should keep in mind a few things such as their audience, the type of wedding, whether it is a religious wedding, a theme wedding or a civil wedding. These factors can help the couple to determine what readings should be recited. The type of readings will also depend on the personality of the couple. Some may decide to choose a romantic poem that tells the story of their love life in a way that they can relate to. Others may go for a more traditional or religious ceremony in which  passages from the bible will be recited by family or friends in addition to the wedding officiant. Additionally, some couples may be simply renewing vows which could take on an entirely different tone.

In addition to choosing the specific ceremony readings couples must also choose who they would like to actually recite them. Often times close friends of the couple or family members will do the readings. Couples must be sure to ask those individuals in advance to ensure that they are comfortable with speaking in public. While some people may be a little nervous others may not be able to handle the pressure. More often than not however, most people are honored and are up to the task.

The readings that couples choose for their wedding ceremonies can vary from classic and traditional readings to romantic. Below are a couple of poems that are popular.

“Sonnet from the Portuguese”

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, – I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“To Be One With Each Other”
What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?
~ George Eliot

For more information on how Houston Minister Services can help you to create the perfect wedding ceremony and for more ceremony options, please contact us at 281- 208-2025 and please continue to view other articles in our Minster Services blog.

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Renewing Vows

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

There are many reasons why couples decide to renew their vows. Renewing vows is a great way for couples to reaffirm their love for one another whether on an important anniversary or for other reasons. Perhaps the couple has overcome a serious illness, estrangement, or they have reached an important milestone in their life. Whatever the reason is, there is some planning to do that is similar to wedding day planning but it is typically not quite as involved.

In today’s article we discuss some ceremony options that many couples choose that they may have incorporated into their original wedding ceremony, or some options that may be new ideas for renewing vows.

Attire – Some brides will wear their original wedding dress or some choose something new whether it is a formal dress, cocktail dress, or a nice suit. This will of course depend upon your taste and the formality of the event. Many brides will also carry flowers, similar to the wedding flowers from their original wedding day, or something completely different. Grooms wear the typical suit or tuxedo, again depending on the formality of the event, and they may wear the cuff links from the original wedding day, or another gift from the bride. The groom will also wear a boutonniere typically.

Participants – Many brides and grooms will invite the original wedding party to attend when renewing vows. They may not necessarily participate again by wearing bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen attire, but they typically attend in celebration. Children and grand children will often participate in various ways. They can escort the bride and groom down the aisle, perform some sort of reading or sing a song. That is really open to whatever the bride and groom decide.

Ceremony – Many couples will talk down the aisle together if they are not escorted by family. They also typically write their own vows to express how they feel about the relationship. It can be a time for the couple to reflect on the lives that they have lived together thus far and a time to share with family and friends. Many brides and grooms will invite the original wedding officiant, depending upon how long ago your wedding day took place! Couples will often buy new wedding bands, or have the old wedding bands engraved with a special quote or message. The ceremony consists of music and readings just as another wedding. Perhaps you choose to have a beach wedding to renew your vows!

When planning on renewing vows there are so many wedding ideas or other options that it can be overwhelming. Continue to read the Minister Services blog and please contact us if you are in need of a wedding officiant to conduct your vow renewal celebration.

You can also call us at 713-208-2025 and read about us and our other services as well. We would appreciate the chance to speak with you regarding your needs.

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Wedding Flowers

Posted in Alternative Custom Weddings

Wedding Flowers Tips for Your Wedding Day

The flowers that you choose for your wedding day will be one of the most important decisions that you make. After all, the flowers provide the color and overall feel to your wedding ceremony and reception. Take the time to select wedding flowers that will make your ceremony beautiful and that will complement the attire of your wedding party and overall color scheme.

When deciding on a florist, you should book one pretty quickly. Take your time to select a florist however you must be sure that you book at least 9 months to a year in advance if you can. You should also consider the time of year that you are getting married. This will affect the budget that you have set aside for your flowers. If you buy flowers that are out of season this will enhance the cost.

Decide on a color scheme when selecting your wedding flowers. The flowers should complement the wedding party attire and should go with the overall theme of your wedding. If you are having a beach wedding, perhaps you will go with a more exotic flower such as the orchid as well as more vibrant colored flowers. If you are having a formal indoor event, and the bridesmaid’s dresses are a darker color, perhaps you should go with a white or ivory rose. These are important things to think about when planning wedding ceremonies and receptions. Not sure where to start? You can always take pictures of your wedding dress, the wedding party attire, or pictures of flowers, or bouquets that you find online. Your florist should be able to help you come up with several options that will work for you.

Another thing to consider is the fragrance of your flowers. You want to be sure that your bouquet isn’t too fragrant so that you are not fighting sneezing and watery eyes as you walk down the aisle!

Wedding Flowers Checklist

Wedding party

  • Bride’s bouquet
  • Bridesmaids bouquets
  • Maid of honor’s bouquet
  • Flower girl’s bouquet, rose petals for basket, and or head piece
  • Groom’s boutonniere
  • Groomsmen’s boutonniere
  • Ring bearer’s boutonniere
  • Mother of the Bride’s corsage or nosegay
  • Mother of the Groom’s corsage or nosegay
  • Father of the Bride’s boutonniere
  • Father of the Groom’s boutonniere
  • Grandmother’s corsages
  • Grandfather’s corsages
  • Honorary guests corsages

Wedding Ceremony

  • Altar arrangements
  • Pew or chair arrangements
  • Entry way arrangements
  • Candles, sand ceremony table arrangement
  • Aisle Runner

Wedding Reception

  • Welcome table flower arrangements
  • Entryway arrangements
  • Centerpieces
  • Bar arrangements
  • Buffet table arrangements
  • Food station arrangements
  • Cake table arrangements

When planning a wedding there are so many wedding ideas and different ceremony options that it can be overwhelming, especially when selecting your wedding flowers. Continue to read the Minister Services blog and please contact us if you are in need of a wedding officiant to conduct your wedding ceremony.

You can also call us at 713-208-2025. We would appreciate the chance to speak with you regarding your needs.

Wedding Centerpieces

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